John Lothian

John Lothian

Executive Chairman and CEO


The John Lothian Daily Update is a podcast turning the daily JLN hits and takes comments, our original content and the stories and quips in the top box of First Read into a daily podcast.


Hits & Takes

JLN Staff

The CFTC and the SEC have new acting chairs, with Rostin Behnam taking the CFTC reins and Allison Herren Lee leading the SEC.

The CFTC also put out a press release titled “Heath P. Tarbert Concludes Historic Tenure as CFTC Chairman.” They forgot to mention his tenure was “epic,” “unprecedented” and “unparalleled.” They also noted in the release that he remains one of the five commissioners at the agency with a term that expires on April 13, 2024. This continues to give the CFTC a Republican tilt with a three to two advantage. However, Republican Brian D. Quintenz had previously said he was leaving the Commission.

The FIA, as is their practice, issued a press release congratulating the new President and Vice President. What was different was the reference to the “peaceful transfer of power.” Then they congratulated Russ Behnam on being named the CFTC’s new acting chairman. The FIA is so proper and polite, you might think they were Canadian.

Here is the text of the FIA statement: “FIA congratulates President Biden and Vice President Harris on their swearing-in and welcomes the peaceful transfer of power to the newly elected leaders of the US. On behalf of FIA’s worldwide membership, we look forward to working with the incoming administration on the challenges before us. We also congratulate Russ Behnam on his designation as Acting Chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). We look forward to working with Acting Chairman Behnam and his fellow commissioners on the immediate challenges of the cleared derivatives industry both here and around the world. Today, FIA joins with our members in celebrating the workings of our democracy and the resilience of the American people.”

The FIA also yesterday put out this notice, “Global futures and options trading reaches record level in 2020.” We have made that our lead story for today because, like, it is rad news.

The Barclay CTA Index showed a gain of 2.49% in December and 5.18% for 2020. Half of the gains of the year in the last month, while the stock market was roaring, is not a stirring recommendation for managed futures.

Interestingly though, Barclays reports that “All sectors tracked in the Barclay CTA Indices were in the black for December. The Cryptocurrency Traders Index set the pace gaining 19.66%, while the MPI Barclay Elite Systematic Traders Index returned 4.25%. The Diversified Traders Index advanced 3.87%, the Systematic Traders Index was up 2.71% and the Discretionary Traders Index gained 2.05%.”

They also noted that “In similar fashion, all managed futures sectors posted 12-month gains in 2020. The Cryptocurrency Traders Index led the way returning 171.32% for the year, followed by the Agricultural Traders Index, up 14.20%, and the Discretionary Traders Index, gaining 8.56%. The Diversified Traders Index returned 6.57% in 2020, while the Systematic Traders Index advanced 5.26%.”

I guess the cryptocurrency space was the place to be, if you can stomach it, have money to burn and want to take a ride on the wild side.

Nasdaq has appointed Jeremy Skule Chief Strategy Officer. He is now their executive vice president and chief strategy officer. Congratulations Jeremy.

Notice from SGX’s website: As at 22 Jan 2021 03:15 PM | Please be informed that due to website maintenance, there will be intermittent access to our site from 08:00 am 23 Jan 2021 to 08:00 pm 24 Jan 2021 (Singapore time). We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Have a great day and stay safe and treat people the same way you want to be treated: with respect, equality and justice.~JJL


Nasdaq Chief Economist Phil Mackintosh’s latest column is called “A Record Pace for SPACs” and looks at what SPACs are, how they work and how they trade. You can read the article and/or listen to the podcast here. ~SR

First Read

Sponsored Content
【Special Report】 First year anniversary workshop of TOCOM/JPX Electricity Futures


Asia’s Most Successful Electricity Futures at Tokyo Commodity Exchange (TOCOM)/Japan Exchange Group (JPX) celebrated its first year of listing in a co-hosted webinar with Quick Corp. on December 15, 2020. The event was attended by over 250 people from 152 companies.

At the workshop, Mr. Hatakeyama, Director-General for Commerce and Service Industry Policy of METI gave an opening remarks and Mr. Ishibashi of Astmax Trading, Inc. gave a keynote speech on Electricity trading and Risk management. In the panel discussion, traders from different power companies shared their experiences in using TOCOM Electricity Futures and their internal risk control systems. They pointed out that there is still a huge opportunity in Electricity Futures market in Japan and requested the exchange to list new products such as those covering the Hokkaido and Kyushu areas and change the product design to extend contract months.

For more details, please refer to the following link


Nasdaq Appoints Jeremy Skule Chief Strategy Officer
Today, Nasdaq (NDAQ) announced Jeremy Skule has been appointed to the position of Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer. Expanding his scope in this new role, Skule will lead the Global Strategy Organization to drive strategic planning, mergers and acquisitions, divestitures, venture investing, NasdaqNext innovation, and will be responsible for the company’s positioning as an innovative data, technology and analytics leader. In addition, he will also continue to oversee Nasdaq’s Marketing and Communications division, now part of Global Strategy.

*****An excellent move by Nasdaq.~JJL


Japan stands firm on Tokyo Olympics schedule, denies report of cancellation
Jack Tarrant and Chris Gallagher – Reuters
Japan stood firm on Friday on its commitment to host the Tokyo Olympics this year and denied reports of a possible cancellation but the pledge looks unlikely to ease public concern about holding the event during a global pandemic. Though much of Japan is under a state of emergency due to a third wave of COVID-19 infections, Tokyo Olympic organisers have vowed to press ahead with the re-scheduled Games, which are due to open on July 23 after being postponed for a year because of the coronavirus.

*****The flip flop is going to be the big new sport at the Olympics.~JJL


Banished by Trump but Brought Back by Biden, Fauci Aims to ‘Let the Science Speak’; Using the kind of blunt language that so often infuriated the former president, Dr. Anthony Fauci said the health threat from the virus was still “very serious.”
Michael D. Shear – NY Times
Most of the times Dr. Anthony S. Fauci made an appearance in the White House briefing room in 2020 — before eventually being banished from public view for his grim assessments of the coronavirus pandemic — he had President Donald J. Trump glowering over his shoulder.

*****I missed having a government that valued science.~MR


Barclay CTA Index Gains 2.49% in December, 5.18% for 2020, According to Backstop BarclayHedge; The risk on trade re-emerges as investor optimism returns to the driver’s seat
Managed futures funds finished 2020 with another positive month and gained 2.49% in December, according to the Barclay CTA Index, compiled by BarclayHedge, a division of Backstop Solutions. For the year, CTAs returned 5.18%. “Global equity and commodity markets benefitted from robust price rallies while safe haven assets such as bonds and the U.S. dollar declined,” said Sol Waksman, president of BarclayHedge. “Progress on economic stimulus measures and coronavirus vaccine approvals raised hopes that a return to normalcy was on the way.”

*****Makes me want to go back into the CTA business.~JJL


Thursday’s Top Three
Our top story Thursday was John Lothian News’ Why Do You Hire a Super Salesman to Run Trading Technologies? by John Lothian. Second was Trading Technologies’ Trading Technologies Names New Chairman and CEO. Third was Reuters’ In hidden message on White House website, Biden calls for coders.


CryptoMarketsWiki Coin of the Week: Ether (ETH)
The price of Ethereum hit an all-time high on Tuesday, January 19, reaching over $1,400 per ETH token. Ether, the world’s second-most popular digital asset, has seen over 90 percent gains this year, even more so than bitcoin (BTC). Currently, there are approximately more than 114 million ETH in circulation, with a market capitalization of $139.9 billion; for comparison, there are approximately 18.6 million BTC in circulation, with a market cap of approximately $573.8 billion


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